The National Police Chiefs Council has admitted that despite the public backlash over its discredited “shop-a-gun-owner” hotline, which was abruptly dropped last year, it will be relaunched under a new name.
The NPCC is the rebranded Association of Chief Police Officers, which was formally shut down on the orders of Home Secretary Theresa May. The NPCC continues to operate in much the same way that ACPO did.
In the minutes from this February’s meeting, ACPO Firearms and Explosives Licensing Working Group (FELWG) chair, Chief Constable Andy Marsh, stated he would attempt to re-launch the hotline.
The original hotline launch took the licensed firearms community by surprise, as the police chose not to tell anyone of their plans before announcing it in a publicity drive which encouraged the general public to inform on shooters, in a move clearly designed to stigmatise licensed firearms owners. This prompted a massive public backlash led by the Countryside Alliance. Police were eventually forced into a climbdown, withdrawing the phone line.
The full FELWG meeting minutes – which also indicate that NPCC/ACPO are looking for ways and means to ban VZ58 MARS rifles – can be downloaded from the NPCC website. UKSN has also copied them here, in case they mysteriously “go walkies” like the rest of the FELWG minutes from the last few years have. Note that both links go directly to the PDF document, which is 10 pages long.
It seems clear to UKSN’s author that the shop-a-gun-owner hotline is CC Marsh’s personal project, and neither reasonableness nor public opinion will stop him from pursuing it to the bitter end. Hopefully the Countryside Alliance will step up to the plate once again and nip this one in the bud.